No SAT for entry to some US colleges, dilemma for Indians

NEW DELHI: Beginning with the University of California, currently over half of the four-year-degree colleges and universities in the US have done away with the SAT or ACT (American College Test) scores for admissions to courses starting in Fall 2021.

Over 1,200 institutions — including top universities like Brown, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, the University of Virginia and Yale — have said the use of the test scores would be optional. Some, like the University of Virginia, have said this policy could continue beyond this year’s admissions.

Jamie Beaton, co-founder and CEO of Crimson Education, says that for international students, standardised test scores, like the SAT or ACT, are quite valuable. “Long story short, I actually think that it’s a bit sad for international students,” said Beaton, whose firm helps international students get admission into US and UK universities. The SAT helps standardise things for admission officers at universities, and Crimson Education is recommending that international students should take the test, even if it’s optional. Sonya Ghandy Mehta, school director of the Pathways School, Aravali said that 2021 could be a tough year for Indian students aspiring to pursue graduate courses in the US. “Test-optional or testflexible admissions might put Indian students at a disadvantage for merit-based scholarships, though some schools will consider the applications despite no SAT or ACT scores,” she said. The College Board in the US, which conducts the SAT, said that the exam was intended to increase access to colleges and that remains its mission. And it isn’t opposed to the decision taken by multiple universities.

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